Arts & Culture

Richards ’69, Basinger Speak on Adapting Bridges of Madison County into a Film and Musical

On Saturday, May 24 at the Center for Film Studies, veteran Broadway producer Jeffrey Richards ’69 (All the Way, The Realistic Joneses, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill) and Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies Jeanine Basinger spoke to a packed house about the different approaches in adapting the novel The Bridges of Madison County into a film, directed by Clint Eastwood Hon. ’00, and into a musical, which Richards recently co-produced on Broadway.

On May 24 at the Center for Film Studies, veteran Broadway producer Jeffrey Richards ’69 (All the Way, The Realistic Joneses, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill) and Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies Jeanine Basinger spoke to a packed house about the different approaches in adapting the novel The Bridges of Madison County into a film, directed by Clint Eastwood Hon. ’00, and into a musical, which Richards recently co-produced on Broadway. During the WESeminar, Richards discussed the difficulties of producing and marketing a show with a new musical score as opposed to a jukebox musical with familiar songs, which is popular show genre on Broadway these days. Richards also spoke about the influence of critics on the success of a play or a musical and the possibility of making money on a show on tour even if it doesn’t do well on Broadway.

David Low '76, associate director of publications; Marc Longenecker, technical and programming manager in film studies; Lea Carlson, associate director of film studies, and Lilly Holman '15 enjoyed the WESeminar with Jeffrey Richards '69 and Jeanine Basinger.

David Low ’76, associate director of publications; Marc Longenecker ’03, MA ’07, technical and programming manager in film studies; Lea Carlson, associate director of film studies, and Lilly Holman ’15 enjoyed the WESeminar with Jeffrey Richards ’69 and Jeanine Basinger.

40 Years of the CFA

“Looking back isn’t something Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts is much interested in doing,” begins a WNPR report on the 40th anniversary of Wesleyan’s Center for the Arts.

“During this 40th Anniversary Season, instead of reflecting on the past and patting itself on the back for four decades of innovative and non-traditional arts programming, CFA chose to celebrate with business as usual.

That means engaging audiences in less that’s familiar, repetitive, or comfortable, and more in timely visits from new visionary artists and performers — global rock stars of the experimental art and performance world.”

Read the whole report, along with pictures and video of recent CFA performances, here.

Photographs, Drawing, Sculpture from Studio Art Majors Displayed

"Thesis Art 2014" is on display through May 24 at the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery. The reception, honoring Class of 2014 studio art majors, will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. May 24. Pictured are Hannah May Knudsen’s archival image prints selected from “The Apron." Her photographs capture horseracing culture in present-day United States.

An exhibit titled “Thesis Art 2014″ was on display through May 24 at the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery. Class of 2014 studio art majors were honored at the reception. Pictured are Hannah May Knudsen’s archival image prints selected from “The Apron.” Her photographs capture horseracing culture in present-day United States.

Nathaniel Elmer, who completed his thesis, beat_space, in architecture, is displaying his images titled “3 photographs."

Nathaniel Elmer, who completed his thesis, beat_space, in architecture, displayed his images titled “3 photographs.”

Rebecca Schisler ’14’s painting, “Field notes and personal Hieroglyphs”, selected from the larger Out of Line: Paintings collection examine optical spontaneity at “the intersection of reference and abstraction”.

Rebecca Schisler’s paintings, selected from her larger “Out of Line: Paintings” collection examine optical spontaneity at “the intersection of reference and abstraction.”

Seniors Write, Direct, Act in “Shrak the Musical”

Wesleyan students presented “Texts.com Presents Shrak the Musical: the Musical” May 3 in WestCo Cafe. Nick Petrillo ’14, Sky McGilligan ’14, Keegan Dufty ’14 and Liza Pine ’14 wrote, directed and acted in the musical. Charlie Kaplan ’14 directed the music and co-directed the show. Ben Kafoglis ’14 also wrote, directed and produced the show. (Photos by Ryan Heffernan ’16)

Keegan Dufty '14 starred as "Shrak" and Nick Martino '15 played the role of "Donkey."

Keegan Dufty ’14 starred as “Shrak” and Nick Martino ’15 played the role of “Donkey.”

Pictured from left, are Linsin Smith '16 as "Fiona," Zachary Logan '15 as "Gingerbread Man" and Kate Centofanti '14 as "Officer Boots."

Pictured from left, are Linsin Smith ’16 as “Fiona,” Zachary Logan ’15 as “Gingerbread Man” and Kate Centofanti ’14 as “Officer Boots.”

Low’s Short Story Published in Solstice Literary Magazine

David Low

David Low

David Low ’76, associate director of publications in University Communications, is the author of a short story titled “Elevor,” published in the Spring 2014 literary magazine Solstice.

“Elevor” is about a young Chinese American woman living and working in Manhattan who suffers from claustrophobia and has several surprising adventures around the city.

In addition to his many articles in Wesleyan magazine, Low’s fiction has appeared in the Ploughshares Reader, American Families, Under Western Eyes: Personal Essays from Asian America, Many Lights in Many Windows, and Mississippi Review.

He is a recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts, the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo, a New York State Arts Council Grant, and a Wallace Stegner Writing Fellowship at Stanford University.

Shapiro Named Distinguished Literary Translator

Norman Shapiro

Norman Shapiro

Academic Affairs has named Norman Shapiro, professor of romance languages, as the university’s Distinguished Literary Translator. Shapiro is one of the country’s leading contemporary translators of French. He holds a BA, MA and Ph.D. from Harvard University, and, as Fulbright scholar, the Diplôme de Langue et Lettres Françaises from the Université d’Aix-Marseille.

At Wesleyan, Shapiro teaches courses in French theater, poetry, Black Francophone literature and literary translation.

His many published volumes span the centuries, medieval to modern, and the genres poetry, novel and theater. His book, The Complete Fables of Jean de La Fontaine is the recipient of the American Translators Association’s Lewis Galantière Award.

Shapiro is a member of the Academy of American Poets and an Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres de la République Francaise.

To learn more about Shapiro and his publications, see the May 2014 Arts & Humanities Newsletter.

Kuenzli to Research European Artist through Learned Societies Fellowship

Katherine Kuenzli, associate professor of art and art history.

Katherine Kuenzli, associate professor of art and art history.

Associate Professor of Art and Art History Katherine Kuenzli has won a prestigious American Council of Learned Societies fellowship for next year. The award will support her work on Henry van de Velde, a European artist whose aesthetic helped shape modernism.

The fellowship – one of 65 awarded this year to scholars in the humanities and humanistic social sciences – provides salary replacement for faculty who are embarking on six to 12 months of full-time research and writing.

“I am thrilled to have the support for and acknowledgement of my work,” Kuenzli said. “I began (the project) in 2009 and will devote next year to completing a full draft of a book manuscript – having the energy and train of thought will be essential.”

She said the project, “Designing Modernsim: Henry van de Velde from Neo-Impressionism to the Bauhaus emerged out of her first book, on “intimate modernism” in Paris in the 1980s. While that book examined paintings and prints artists created for private homes, theater stages, and street corners, Kuenzli’s new work broadens that scope to include not just painting, but also the applied arts and architecture. She’s studying the internationalization of art around 1900 and attempts to broaden the public for art, while maintaining a high level of formal and intellectual sophistication. The book uncovers a forgotten chapter in the emergence of abstraction, which has been understood as painting-specific; she hopes to demonstrate how “abstract aesthetics emerged out of an attempt to coordinate the arts, and to unify art and life.”

Matthew Goldfeder, director of the ACLS fellowship programs, said that this year’s fellows were “chosen for their potential to create new knowledge that will improve our understanding of the world and its diverse cultures and societies.”

The fellows represent more than 50 colleges and universities and an array of disciplines, including music, philosophy, art history and sociology. More than 1,000 applications were received for this year’s fellowship cycle.

Kuenzli’s project on van de Velde will explore how the painter, designer and architect – who worked in Belgium, France and Germany in the decades before WWI – developed an abstract formal vocabulary that proved seminal to both painterly modernism and an activist, engaged avant-garde.

‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’ on Broadway

“Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” a cult classic with music and lyrics by Stephen Trask ’89, opened on Broadway to rave reviews this month, 16 years after its original run off-Broadway in 1998. Trask, who also did orchestration for the show, tells The Wall Street Journal how much times have changed since then:

When Mitchell and composer Stephen Trask tried to court the mainstream theaters with the show in 1998, not a single theater wanted to house “Hedwig.”

“Only a few months before our 1998 off-Broadway debut at the Jane Street Theater, there was no theater,” Trask wrote in an email to Speakeasy. “Instead there was an abandoned, derelict ballroom at a flop-house SRO hotel. Peter Askin, our director and producer, built the stage, bought some old movie theater seats, and made that theater for us because no one would have us. The Public? No. New York Theater Workshop? No. The theater on 8th Ave that had been empty for two years: they turned US down. And forget about Broadway. Theaters recoiled at the rock music that actually sounded like rock. They weren’t so fond of the drag element, much less the trans element. The combination was deadly. And frankly, we were just too queer.”

But the Jane Street Theatre did finally stage “Hedwig,” and the show began to catch on.

“It was a very, very slow build,” Trask said. “We slowly built a coalition of the sliver of theatergoers who didn’t mind the drag and the punk rock, the rockers who didn’t mind the drag and the theater, the gay audiences who didn’t mind the rock music.”

Eventually, “Hedwig” would manage a solid run of 857 performances to ever-growing acclaim. So much acclaim that Mitchell was able to produce and star in the feature film. No small feat, at a time when gay characters, let alone transgender characters, were rarely portrayed on screen.

The show also was recently reviewed in The New York TimesThe Washington PostThe Guardian and The Chicago Tribune, among others.